History of St Devereux




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The church of St Devereux is dedicated to St Dubricius (St Dyfrig) who lived in the 6th century AD. The earliest mention of the church is in the Bishop’s Register in 1353 though some parts of the church are much older. It probably formed part of the religious house of Wormbridge (see History of St Peters). There was once a small settlement across the road from the church, this is thought to have been a large farmstead, probably burnt to the ground in the 14th century when Owen Glendower's soldiers were carrying out raids in the district.

Much of the fabric of the nave, constructed of rubble with ashlar dressings dates back to the 13th century. The original entrance, now blocked up, was in the north wall. The tower dates to the 14th century. Inside the builders used part of a 13th century coffin lid to join it to the west wall. It bears a fragment of an inscription in Lombardic script, which might be read “Waste not Want not”!

The church was restored in 1859 and 1882 when the south wall of the nave was rebuilt and the porch added.

Features of interest include the sundial on the east jamb of the south doorway. When a short stick is inserted into the centre hole it casts a shadow on the two marks showing the times of divine office. It may have been a mass dial like the one in neighbouring Kilpeck church. The font is of 15th century origin and the carved oak cover shows biblical events of Noah, Abraham, the baptism of Christ and Jesus and the little children. The oak chest, which stands at the back of the church, is made of heavy oak and dates back to the 16th or early 17th centuries. It was once used for the safe storage of church records and other, less valuable, items. The piscina (from the Latin meaning “fish pond”) is a quatrefoil bowl in a recess of the south wall of the chancel, partly cut away with a drain hole and was made in the 14th century. There is also a drain in the south wall of the nave dating to the 13th century. These basins were for the washing of communion vessels so it seems that the church may had more than one altar at some stage The communion table is a splendid Jacobean oak table. This would have replaced the stone altar, removed shortly after the Reformation.

There are three bells, one is dated 1782 and was cast by Thomas Rudhall. The other two are thought to have been cast in a Bristol foundry between 1350 and 1380. They are inscribed in Lombardic script SANCTE JOHNANNES and SANCTUS JOHANNES respectively.

This extract from the Guide to St Dubricius was complied and edited by Mr G R Fennah in 1982, revised and updated in 2009.